Search Engine Optimization (SEO) VERSUS Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns


Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can both be extremely effective if executed properly. Both are simply methods of drawing visitors to your web site. Both are targeted to get your website placed as close to the top of search engine results page as possible. And both rely heavily on expert keyword selection.

Here are the differences you should consider when planning your advertising:


The key difference is that PPC costs you money and can be expensive, whereas SEO is free. Although I use PPC for some projects, I very much prefer SEO and use it extensively to test PPC strategies before I put them in place.


SEO campaigns make your content show up in the “Organic” section of the search results page, whereas the PPC ads show up in the advertising areas of web sites and search results. I have found through the years that people tend to ignore the advertising areas, even if they are ready to buy. They tend to do research first and know that the organic sections are the best place to get real information.


Although PPC is technically advertising, to be more exact, it is an auction for advertising. You bid on keywords, and if you are looking to get the best deal, you can frequently find that your bid doesn't get you what you bid on and your time is wasted. Also, it takes a huge amount of time and expertise to manage your bidding campaigns. With SEO, you can put your plan in place once, watch it perform, and after a couple months, you can update it - it runs all the time every day - place it once and you are done - it takes much less time.


With SEO and PPC, you have to become an expert in keyword selection, but with PPC, you also have to become an expert in each PPC system that you work with. I found myself spending a huge amount of time learning the in's and out's of each system. Although learning the keyword selection process is the same for every PPC system and SEO, the auction systems not only become a time suck, but these systems change frequently to the point where you have to relearn each system once or twice each year.

It is important to learn everything you can about search engine keyword research. Overture provides an online tool that will give you data on how often particular keywords are entered into their search engine. They also offer suggestions for keywords after you enter a description of your site. Google also provides a very nice AdWords tool you can use for free to get a sense of which keywords (key phrases) are easiest to dominate. I have found that two or three word phrases work better than single words since they are highly focused and easier to dominate in the search engines.


I have had so many people ask me what PPC really does, and my answer is always the same. When someone clicks on your ad, you get exactly one visit to your website - this is a targeted lead. Your cost for one click with PPC averages $0.20 to $2.00 each for two or three word phrases. If you are bidding on single words, your cost can be $10 up to $80 for just one click. With a properly executed SEO campaign, you can get 2,000 to 6,000 or more per month! If you execute this plan yourself, it's free. If not, you can find programs that bring your costs down to much less than $0.10 per targeted lead.


I like SEO campaigns much better and I think SEO a much better investment for your money if you hire someone, and for your time if you do it yourself.

For a hands off approach to SEO, check out the VMA at

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